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Corporate wiki vs. Knowledge base: Which one do you need?

Corporate wiki vs. Knowledge base: Which one do you need?

Jonathan Davies


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22 mins read

Sun, Jan 15, '23  

Is your organization actively managing, creating, and distributing knowledge? Or do your employees waste time searching for information across multiple, disparate tools?

According to a recent survey, 75% of organizations said that creating and preserving knowledge would be important or very important to their success over the next 12–18 months. And yet, only 9% felt they were “very ready” to do that. 

To bridge this readiness gap, companies need to implement tools that allow their employees to freely, share, organize,  and access knowledge — and a corporate wiki could be the answer.

What is a corporate wiki?

A corporate wiki is a central database that a business uses to store and organize content. This might include employee handbooks, product information, project plans, onboarding checklists, and internal process documentation. 

A company’s employees, not a dedicated knowledge management team, create and maintain a corporate wiki.. Anyone within the company can edit or add to the corporate wiki when they have information to share. In this way, a corporate wiki functions like your organization’s private, internal version of Wikipedia.

Corporate wiki vs. company knowledge base

Corporate wikis and internal knowledge bases are both systems for storing and organizing internal content, and the two terms are often confused. The main difference between a corporate wiki and a knowledge base is that, while a wiki is organically grown by an organization’s employees, a knowledge base is put together more deliberately. 

The curation and management of a knowledge base is usually the responsibility of just a few dedicated employees, although they may give other employees, such as department leaders, the right to create or edit content. This allows organizations to have more control over the information, and to prevent confusion caused by out-of-date or badly organized information. 

A knowledge base usually offers more ways to structure and organize content, and includes  rules for taxonomy and naming conventions. This can make it easier for employees to find the right content. 

Both corporate wikis and knowledge bases can be valuable ways for companies to store and manage knowledge. Many modern software solutions offer the best of both worlds, combining a wiki function that all staff members can contribute to with a more structured knowledge base. 

Why do companies use corporate wiki software?

A McKinsey study found that high-skill knowledge workers spend on average 19% of their time searching for information. For a full-time employee, that adds up to some seven or eight hours a week — or a whole working day. A corporate wiki can help your team to find the information they need more easily. 

Here are some of the benefits corporate wiki systems offer:

Better knowledge management and retention

An organization’s knowledge is one of its biggest assets. By setting up a corporate wiki and encouraging your employees to document their knowledge, you can make sure that organizational knowledge is accessible to everyone. This helps you to retain knowledge even when your most valued employees eventually leave.

Searchable knowledge base

There’s not much point in documenting all of your organization’s most important knowledge if no one can find it. A good corporate wiki solution will allow employees to search for specific content. This turns your wiki into a self-service content repository where employees can get the information they need, without having to ask for help. 

Less confusion

In many organizations, information is scattered across a number of different platforms, which can make it difficult to find the right information. A well-organized wiki is a way to bring all knowledge together in one place. By creating this single source of truth, you can ensure that your employees will always know where to look for the information they need. 

Faster onboarding

Getting to know a new company, including all of the various people, policies, and procedures, can be overwhelming. Using a corporate wiki, you can give your new hires easy access to all of the guidelines, how-to guides, training materials, and other documents that they need to acclimate as quickly as possible. And an effective onboarding process can increase employee retention by up to 82%.   

Higher productivity

Creating a corporate wiki that acts as a single source of truth for your organization helps to streamline information and empowers employees to work independently. It can also save a lot of time, since your employees won’t need to search through multiple channels or ask their colleagues for help. This creates more time for employees  to focus on doing their best work. 

Improved team collaboration

The whole point of a corporate wiki is that it is a collaborative effort that anyone in your organization can contribute to. By encouraging your team members to share their knowledge, experience, and insights, you can create a collaborative, teamwork-focused culture where everyone is empowered to grow. 

Corporate wiki software can also be invaluable in breaking down information silos within your organization. With a corporate wiki in place, every member of your team can tap into your valuable shared knowledge, regardless of their job title.

Integrations with existing workflows

Most organizations use various different workplace tools on a day-to-day basis. And modern corporate wiki solutions can often integrate with the other tools and processes you already use. 

Happeo, for example, integrates with both Google Workspace and Microsoft 365. This means that when you search in your corporate wiki, the software will simultaneously search Google Drive or OneDrive files. Plus, you can even embed Drive or OneDrive files into your Pages to add context and make it easier for employees to find the information they need.


Reduced employee attrition

A corporate wiki helps create a collaborative, supportive culture that boosts employee morale and decreases turnover. Plus, when your employees have all of the information they need in one easily searchable location, they don’t have to waste time tracking down facts and figures. This means they have more time to get their work done, resulting in lower levels of stress and burnout. 

Implementing a corporate wiki and encouraging all employees to contribute their knowledge and expertise can also help to make sure employees feel valued and listened to at work.

For example, see how Happeo helps BlueBridge maintain employee happiness as it scale

Drawbacks of traditional corporate wikis

While a corporate wiki can be a valuable tool for managing knowledge in your organization, traditional wiki solutions do come with some downsides. 

Here are a few of the drawbacks of traditional corporate wiki:

Requires extra oversight

A corporate wiki that anyone can contribute to encourages a culture of knowledge-sharing and collaboration — but it can also cause problems. When anyone can add information to the wiki without approval from subject matter experts, there’s a risk that the wiki will end up containing incorrect or outdated information. 

Modern corporate wiki solutions provide a balance between allowing everyone to contribute and ensuring information is correct and up to date, through features such as content approval. Another important feature is lifecycle management, where leaders get alertsed when a piece of content hasn’t been updated in a long time and may be obsolete.

Lacks search functionality 

While most corporate wiki solutions offer some level of search functionality, it’s often not very intuitive or powerful. This can lead to employees wasting time tracking down the information they need.

However, modern corporate wiki solutions combine functional wiki software with a powerful search function, with some (including Happeo) even allowing you to search across multiple third-party apps from within your digital workplace.

Poor integration with existing workflows

Traditional wikis may not integrate well with the tools you use everyday. That means employees could lose time switching back and forth between platforms. To avoid this, look for corporate wiki solutions that work seamlessly alongside the tools and platforms your teams already use.

No analytics

Traditional company wikis don’t offer much insight into how your employees are using them. This means that you could end up with redundant content that no one is accessing, or fail to provide the knowledge that employees need. 

A modern wiki can provide you with valuable analytics, which tells you what your employees are (and aren’t) searching for. This helps you remove or consolidate redundant content that’s cluttering up your wiki, and ensure you’re providing the content your employees need. 

Harness the power of modern corporate wiki software

While traditional corporate wikis might lack the features businesses need today, there is a solution. Happeo is your modern corporate wiki, knowledge base, and social intranet, wrapped up in one intuitive platform

  • Personalized homepages: No one needs to see all of a company’s knowledge at once. With Happeo, you can easily personalize your home page so it only shows the content, Channels, and widgets that you need. 
  • Content lifecycle management: Happeo’s lifecycle management features alert you when content becomes stale, so you can update or remove it
  • In-depth analytics: Happeo’s Analytics features show you which posts and pages are getting the most engagement. And there’s no need to guess what content your teams want to see: Search analytics help you to spot any FAQ so you can create content to fill  any knowledge gaps. 

Want to learn more about what Happeo could do for your organization? Book a free, personalized demo today.